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News » Jazz not lobbying for Star positions


Jazz not lobbying for Star positions


Jazz not lobbying for Star positions
In an effort to boost their hopeful All-Star reserves' chances, some NBA teams send out small gifts to attract the attention of potential voters.

Minnesota, for instance, sent out a Sony GPS device called the "Double-Double Machine" to coaches in hopes that they would rock the vote and put T-Wolves center Al Jefferson on the Western Conference All-Star team.

But NBA teams outside of Salt Lake City did not receive any vote-swaying swag from the Utah Jazz for this franchise's mid-season honor-roll candidates.

The Jazz didn't send out any FTD-Will gift baskets to point out how Deron Williams delivers and helps his teammates blossom. They didn't hand out any memos with dollar symbols on 'em to spread the message about Mehmet Okur being on the money so often.

No Cajun hot sauce to spice up Paul Millsap's chances or AK-47 toy guns to promote Andrei Kirilenko's firepower, either.

Not that Williams, who's yet to be named an All-Star, thinks it would have made a difference had the Jazz sent out creative gifts on the behalf of the team's potential vote-getters.

"Coaches pick anyway. I don't think they pay much attention to that," said Williams, who's averaging 16.9 points and 10.2 assists in an injury-hampered season. "They know who they want to be in the game and that's who they're going to pick."

Whether or not any of those picks -- which will be revealed today by the NBA -- will be non-gift-giving Jazz players remains to be seen.

"You can make a case for them, there's no question," Jazz forward Matt Harpring said.

However, considering circumstances -- from injuries and inconsistency, to the Jazz's mediocre 25-21 record -- Utah's candidates are considered longshots to garner enough votes for spots in the Feb. 15 All-Star Game in Phoenix with or without groveling giveaways.

"Of course, I'd love to make it," Williams admitted.

Just not enough to try to persuade with presents.

Millsap would also be thrilled to get an invitation, but the power forward let his streak of 19-straight double-doubles and all-around standout play in Carlos Boozer's absence do all his campaigning.

"The games I started I did pretty good. I don't know about 'All-Star,' but everybody would love to be. I would love to be," said Millsap, who's averaging 15.6 points and 9.7 rebounds in a breakout season. "My time will come."

Millsap, however, doesn't necessarily think that he'll be spending All-Star Weekend in the Valley of the Sun.

"It would be a great story. It would be good for me and my family, and my team, if I did (get selected)," Millsap said. "But there are a lot of other guys on this team that are well-deserving of that."

A lot of guys on teams with better records whom NBA coaches might think are a tad more deserving, too.

With only seven spots up for grabs, there will be elite-level guys left out. ESPN.com NBA expert Marc Stein predicts coaches will reserve spots for Dirk Nowitzki, Pau Gasol, Shaquille O'Neal (it's in Phoenix, remember), Brandon Roy, Tony Parker, Chauncey Billups and Carmelo Anthony. That scenario leaves out the entire Jazz contingency along with Steve Nash, Jason Terry, David West, Kevin Durant, Jefferson, LaMarcus Aldridge and Andrew Bynum, among other standouts out West.

That's why Williams says "there's still a chance" for him, but he isn't making plans for Phoenix. He even declined the NBA's invitation to defend his Skills Challenge championship -- in part, he added, to give his banged-up body some R&R.

Whether or not they get votes from opposing NBA coaches -- bench bosses can't vote for their own guys -- the Jazz players have support at home.

"I hope Deron and Memo could make this team," said Kirilenko, who was a 2004 All-Star. "I think the level of the Basketball they're playing (is) really good."

Ditto for Kyle Korver.

"I believe they should," Korver said. "I think there's no doubt that Deron should be on the All-Star team. I think (everyone) in this whole NBA knows that he's one of the top two, if not three, point guards in the NBA. How it boils down in the actual voting, we'll see what happens because he was out (with an ankle injury)."

Korver also had high praise for Okur, whose season averages of 17.3 points and 8.4 rebounds are comparable to his 2007 All-Star season even if he's struggled a bit after his career-high 43-point explosion earlier this month.

"Memo, I don't know how many centers in the NBA have been playing better than him, putting up points," Korver said.

The Jazz backup swingman also put a plug in for Utah's own double-double machine, Millsap, who seems to come equipped with a GPS for the ball.

"You look at Paul," he added, "and Paul's played great Basketball ... (and) been pretty consistent -- 20 (points) and 10 (rebounds) ever since he started in the starting spot. Most 20 and 10 guys will make it."

Some make it even without sending out extra enticements. Contributing: Tim Buckley E-mail: jody@desnews.com


Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: January 30, 2009

 

 
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